Rashid Khan and the Irresistible Lure of the Underdog

Sports

Rashid Khan and the Irresistible Lure of the Underdog

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

T

he fourth Harry Potter novel, The Goblet of Fire, opens with Harry and the Weasleys attending the Quidditch World Cup final between favourites Ireland and underdogs Bulgaria. Asked to pick a winner, Harry predicts that Ireland will win the game, but the tournament’s breakout sensation, the mercurial Bulgarian prodigy Viktor Krum will catch the Snitch, making him the game’s most valuable player. That’s exactly what happens – the underdogs lose, but their teenage sensation wins over the heart of the audience, cementing his place among the sport’s greats.

Today, another clash of similar David vs Goliath proportions is taking place in Bangalore, and a real world Viktor Krum is preparing to fell the giant before him. The 19-year-old Afghan leg spinner Rashid Khan, who ended this year’s IPL with the second-highest tally of wickets, is going to step onto the field with the hopes and aspirations of a war-torn nation riding on his shoulders.

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